The following commentary by Steve MacDonald has been republished with permission from GraniteGrok.
The Dover City Council “overwhelmingly” approved a resolution last week. It denounces partisan political and “unconstitutional” book banning, which is amusing given that Dover is run by political partisans that hate the US Constitution.
Without looking, I can almost guarantee that the City of Dover’s political elite said little about constitutional rights during COVID. And how long would it take for us to find rants about the need to silence dissent as disinformation? Support for passports that restrict the unvaccinated (or not vaccinated enough) from access to public spaces; or businesses pressured to keep them out of private ones.
The Democrat Dover City Council would, if it could, implement the most draconian interventions permissible, the Constitution be damned, from essential and unessential businesses to indoor or outdoor mask mandates to prohibiting religious gatherings (or gatherings of any sort) and for longer and harder than you can imagine.
If someone told them they could ignore the Bill of Rights tomorrow, they’d be dancing widdershins around its smoldering ashes and streaming it on Instagram.
This isn’t about taking a constitutional stand on book banning. This is a partisan head fake.
Books have been challenged in Dover as inappropriate material for the public and school libraries: books that glorify heterosexual rape, child-adult sex (pedophilia), and illegal drug use, to name but a few. No one is asking the city to do something it cannot. Like every political subdivision, Dover willingly prohibits minors’ access or activity based on age, including “published material” deemed unsuitable for “children.” But here they are, having a fit and making references in their resolution to Nazis.
Beginning on May 10, 1933, Nazi-dominated student groups carried out public burnings of books they claimed were “un-German.” The book burnings took place in 34 university towns and cities. Works of prominent Jewish, liberal, and leftist writers ended up in the bonfires. The book burnings stood as a powerful symbol of Nazi intolerance and censorship.
To my knowledge, no books have been burned in New Hampshire (except for a few Harry Potter Books), and no one is asking that anything be banned. But the Progs have decided to conjure the dark history of totalitarian regimes in defense of material that would make most adults blush if asked to read it out loud in public. Material that, if you handed it to your neighbor’s kid, could get you arrested and charged as a sex offender.
And while we’re enjoying ironies, do Dover Democrats know that a private citizen burning a book in protest is protected by the Constitution just as if they were burning the American flag (don’t try that with a pride flag, they’ll bust you for a hate crime)?
And if you happen to be a Dover Democrat, burning black businesses under the shadow of the penumbra of mostly peaceful protests is also a right, as is expressing your dissatisfaction with a Supreme Court ruling by vandalizing or burning pregnancy crisis centers.
Search their social feeds. I bet you’ll find they have nothing negative to say about those folks depriving others of their constitutionally protected rights. You might even see a few huzzahs.
And where can we find similar outrage from Dover’s proud first amendment defenders over the Twitter Files? The Government actively censored people and banned them and their words. Got them muted or kicked out of the public debate entirely, even interfering with elections.
It’s a fair question because you write, in your resolution, “WHEREAS: All public officials in the City of Dover, together with the City Manager and Department Heads, have each taken an oath to uphold the State and Federal Constitutions.”
We’ll need proof of that outside this narrow grooming scandal you’ve defended. Otherwise, your resolution resembles partisan Potemkin politics, a dog and pony show, smoke and mirrors, and street theater.
But it’s not a total loss. There might be something sensible in there.
“…it bears noting minors cannot obtain a library card to check out books at the Dover Public Library without parental/guardian consent.”
So, parents might have some rights over their children and the books they can read, and the Dover City Council just resolved it, if not sideways.
Will or has Dover prohibited any expense of city funds that might deny them that right? Sticky wicket, that. What if they object to the kiddie porn peddled as knowledge curated by experts?
The Dover Public Library, as well as the Dover School District, employ professional librarians who have education, expertise, and experience in developing a collection of materials for their libraries. If some book or other material has been acquired as part of the collection, the professional determination should in no be way partisan, political or ideological, but instead based purely on the informational value and potential interest of the book/material to the public generally and the marketplace of ideas.
And, (emphasis, mine).
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND DOVER CITY COUNCIL THAT: Censorship of ideas on the basis of partisan, political or ideological beliefs is antidemocratic, unconstitutional, and denounced in the City of Dover. All citizens’ rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Part I, Article 22 of the State Constitution shall be respected in accordance with applicable law. City resources, to include City funds and the time of the City’s professional staff, may not be used for the purpose of censoring library materials on the basis of political, partisan or ideological beliefs.
Librarians are paid government employees. Could they be required to demonstrate that decisions about what is or is not included are apolitical? Is the conspicuous absence of a title or topic partisan unconstitutional book banning? Nope. The Resolution is written so that requesting a book be removed is untenable. Keeping books from entering the collection on ideological grounds would not be unconstitutional.
Librarians can expend all the city time or money they like exercising partisan political bias to keep materials out.
You won’t likely find too many books on scandals involving Barak Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Hunter Biden, Benghazi, or any Democrat who has held elected office. Books by or about Donald Trump could be excluded, or anything recent on the misguided response to COVID. Books on how masks, distancing, or the vaccine didn’t do any of the things they said or the unconstitutional political response. Are there any books on abstinence or the fiscal or personal benefits of saving sex for marriage or staying married?
There might be. I have no idea, but those are a few suggestions. I’m sure the citizens of Dover will find what’s missing, with which we might start a conversation about partisan political librarians. Because while you can’t have every book on the shelf, the ones you choose to leave out speak louder than words. Like how “… public officials in the City of Dover, together with the City Manager and Department Heads, have each taken an oath to uphold the State and Federal Constitutions.”
It makes me smile every time I read that. And it might not be books you’ve “banned” by exclusion or books you’ve included that violate decency laws, but I have a feeling that bit in your resolution is going to come back and bite you in the collective ass.